I am proud to say that SMART Recovery Australia has built on our successes of 2017, and have several exciting projects underway as we move into 2019.

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There are now 294 SMART meetings running across Australia and New Zealand, with 97 of these registered in the 2018 calendar year. Perhaps most exciting is the volume and variety of other organisations in which SMART groups are embedded. Over one hundred and fifty organisations are now involved in running SMART groups. Based on average attendance, that’s around three hundred more people in need that we’re helping weekly this year. 

Thanks to the hard work of our staff and office volunteers – Marc, Chiara, Shriya, and Sofie, we have regular webinars, refresher trainings, and a nationwide data collection project running in order for us to better meet the needs of our facilitators, and, through this, our participants.

Of course, so many meetings require a vast network of dedicated facilitators. In order to create such a network, we aimed to run more training events than ever before.

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One of the most exciting projects we currently have underway is the development of an online training module. We’re aware that our program is in high demand in rural and remote areas, which are often tragically under-resourced and understaffed. With online training, we can offer a more affordable, accessible option, available on demand to those who want to make a palpable difference to their community, everywhere from Townsville to Tasmania.

We received accreditation this year in the Australian Service Excellence Standards, a further step forward in SMART Recovery Australia’s growth as a leading voice in the world of addiction recovery. Similarly, the Be SMART Family & Supporters Program was awarded by the WA Mental Health Commission, and the SRAU Research Advisory Committee (RAC) received an award for Excellence in Research and Evaluation at the annual NADA awards.

SMART Recovery Australia, in conjunction with the University of Wollongong, funded by NSW Ministry of Health under the NSW Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Early Intervention Innovation Grant Scheme, and built by GHO Digital Creative Agency, has been instrumental in building a world-first user driven Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM) and feedback system. SMART Recovery Australia has played a leading role in the establishment of SMART Recovery International, with an inaugural Board and Executive Officer recruited and a website built and operational.

In 2019, we’re looking forward to the commencement of online training as well as several Be SMART trial groups across the country, with the aim of determining the most viable version of that program for our participants. We will also be running peer media training, and are currently looking for a volunteer national peer coordinator for our rapidly evolving nationwide peer support program.